Short-Term Content vs Long-Term Content

Very little content on the internet is evergreen. This is particularly true for bloggers as a lot of the content we write becomes dated very quickly.

Many of the internet’s highest traffic websites are blogs, news websites, and online magazines. These websites are updated with dozens of new articles every day and with the help of large social media followings, this volume of content generates millions of impressions per day.

Anyone who has seen the garbage shared on Facebook understands that high traffic does not translate into high quality content. Websites with a good social media presence can generate thousands of shares online by simply embedding a YouTube video with a one line description.

Mashable
Websites such as Mashable publish dozens of articles every single day.

Most of the content on these websites becomes dated very quickly. Articles therefore see large traffic spikes for a few days and then very little traffic afterwards. A good example of this is a website that reports the death of a celebrity.

I like to refer to this type of content as short-term content as the information becomes becomes irrelevant or out dated very quickly.

In this article I would like to talk about the topic of content and where information becomes useless.

The Short-Term Content Approach

I have been offering advice to bloggers for many years. It was nine years ago that I launched BloggingTips.com and first began to share my experiences blogging with others. Since then I have shared my knowledge of blogging through that blog, through this blog, through a host of other blogs, and through my book “The Art of Freelance Blogging“.

Despite my ten years of actively blogging, I still make mistakes from time to time. I am, after all, only human.

I do however feel that my overall understanding of the complete blogging picture has improved.

One thing that I did not always give consideration to in the past was the lifespan of the content I was publishing. If a topic came into my head, I would blog about it.

Diary Writing
Image Copyright: Fredrik Rubensson

I always enjoyed the freedom of being to write about any topic on this blog and receiving comments and feedback about what I wrote shortly after publishing. There have been many times when an incident has occurred and the whole experience got my creative juices flowing and inspired a blog post.

There is something liberating about doing that, however most of these types of blog posts can be categorised as short-term content. They may generate a lot of discussion, social media shares, and incoming links over a short period of time. However, in the long-term these blog posts inevitably fade into obscurity when they become less relevant.

Their is nothing inherently wrong with publishing short-term content. Over time traffic to blog posts will decrease but traffic to newer posts will remain high. If your social media presence and RSS subscriber total increases over time, new blog posts should receive more traffic as well.

Changing This Blog’s Direction

One problem with a short-term content business model is that it relies on the blog always publishing new content. That is something that I always had concerns about with this blog.

There were times when I wanted to put my focus on other projects; whether it be books, guides, courses, or freelancing for others. Sometimes I updated my blog and put those projects on hold, other times I worked on those projects and my blog fell behind.

Many decisions were made from the position that “I have to update my blog”. More than once this resulted in me publishing blog posts that would have been better served as a rant in a forum post on Rise Forums.

That kind of mentality has to change.

Moving forward, I want the content published on this blog to be stand the test of time. I realise that everything has an expiry date on the internet, but I want the tutorials and guides I published to be relevant for several years, not several days.

I will always have a blog on KevinMuldoon.com, but I want to change the focus of this website and start publishing more guides.

Directions
Image Copyright: Luis Marina

If you take a look at my guides section, you can get an idea of the direction I want to go.

The guides section will contain a mixture of short guides and long guides. The short guides will normally be covered in one or two articles. The longer guides will contain many more articles; anything from several tutorials to dozens of detailed articles.
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My first long guide is “The Complete Guide to Web Hosting“. I will be continually adding to this guide over the coming months. I am sure website owners will find it a useful resource.

I am very excited about developing long in-depth guides. These guides will cover everything about a particular topic. I could always release this content via books, but I like the idea of the content being easily read from my blog at anytime.

It is going to take me a lot of time to develop all of the guides that I want to add to this blog, but a year or two from now this website is going to have a lot of great tutorials and guides that fellow website owners are going to find very useful.

Short-Term Content vs Long-Term Content

I believe there are benefits to adding content to your website that does not become dated so quickly. Others will be more likely to link to content in the future if it is evergreen. This leads to a higher ranking in the search engines and more social media shares.

From a structural point of view, I think it would be wise for bloggers to add short-term content as blog posts and long-term content as pages. The reason being that the chronological nature of blogging means that a lot of great content gets lost in the archives and is never viewed once it leaves your home page and recent blog posts list.

A hierarchal directory type structure is more practical for guides and tutorials. In the future I am planning on converting good blog posts into pages so that visitors can find those tutorials easier via the guides section.

What is your opinion on all of this? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic :)

Kevin